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Does Spanish borrow some words from Arabic?


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There was a time when a part of Spain was under Islamic rule. And as many Muslims have to learn Arabic so they can read the Koran, we can make assumption that many of them spoke Arabic. I also assume that the Spaniards and Arabs had some trade relations. This is why some Arabic words ended up being used by Spaniards. According to a Wikipedia article, there are about 4000 Spanish words that are of Arabic origin.

You'll find a list of some of the words here:

acebuche: wild olive tree, or wood from such a tree. From Andalusi Arabic azzabbú.
aceche: copper, iron or zinc sulfate. From Arabic zā.
aceifa: Muslim summer military expedition. From Arabic Sa'ifah "harvest" or "summer expedition."
aceite: oil. From Arabic az-zayt "oil."
aceituna: olive. From Arabic (az-zaytun) "olive."
aceituní: precious cloth from the Orient. From Arabic az-zaytuni, a possible adaptation of the Chinese city Tsö-Thung.


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I was very surprised to learn that one of the most popular Spanish words, Hasta, is actually an Arabic word Hatta and in both Spanish and Arabic they mean the same thing.  Until.  As in "Hasta manana" literally meaning "Until tomorrow" and also a very popular way to say "See you tomorrow". 


4000 Arabic words in Spanish sounds like a large amount of Arabic influence.  I'm pretty sure only Vulgar Latin has more words in Spanish than that. 

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  • 5 weeks later...

Just thought it worth mentioning that there are some Spanish words I use every day that are actually Arabic words.  Turns out I've been speaking Arabic when using the words Taza (cup), Azul (the color blue) and Ojala (hopefully). 

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